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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vagamon Hill station Kerala, India

Vagamon (Malayalam: വാഗമണ്‍) is a hill station located in Kottayam-Idukki border of Kottayam district of Kerala, India. It has a cool climate with a temperature between 10 and 23 °C on a summer season! It is situated 1,100 metres above sea level. Vagamon was discovered by the British who found the place ideal for tea plantations and they were followed by Christian missionaries who built their abode of service at Kurisumala in Vagamon. National Geographic Traveler has listed Vagamon on their directory of the "50 most attractive places to visit in India".
one of the attractions in wagamon is the meadows
My sunrise from the meadows with foggy valley..
the deep foggy valley from the top of the meadows
Still untouched by commercialization, the sleepy town with its scenic valleys, beautiful green meadows, enchanting pine forests, mists, fogs, tea estates, waterfalls with the overall greenery is really striking. The landscape is mostly hilly bald with green meadows. Vagamon is also home to a large variety of flowers and orchids. Cuddled up within three striking hills Thangal, Murugan and Kurisumala hills which are the representation of the chief religions in Kerala, i.e. Hindu, Muslim, and Christian which represent the cultural harmony. 
The road to the Water falls.
Water fall view from the down valley
waterfall on the way to vagamon
Vagamon has amenities for trekking, paragliding, mountaineering and rock climbing. However business interests are trying their best to exploit and sell and market vagamon for tourists. How much benefits the local people are receiving from tourism boom is to be seen. The efforts made by the Kurishumala Ashram have helped the farmers of vagamon to improve their earnings by ensuring better price for milk and marketing opportunities.

Vagamon is located 15 km from kottamala 39 km from Thodupuzha, 33 km away from Palai, 45 km from Kumily, 22 km from Kuttikanam and about 65 km from Kottayam. Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport while the closest railway station is Kottayam. There are many fine resorts available in the surrounding areas with affordable cost for trekkers. Key tourist centers such as Thekkady, Peermade and Kulamavu are straightforwardly reachable from Vagamon.
Travelling by the hill highway in this section is an exhilarating experience with deep valleys and magnificent views all around. Vagamon presents very spectacular views with an ethereal touch. Vagamon's charm is worth experiencing and is indeed one of the must see places for tourists.
Reaching Vagamon itself is an extraordinary experience. The meandering road to Vagamon is cut in solid rock lined with pine forests. And as you wind your way through green capped hills, the rolling plains come into view thousands of feet below you. The road to vagamon from Erattupetta opened an easily accessible and direct route to vagamon from the plains. This road which was constructed in the 1950s was an engineering marvel and is rated a state highway. The road was made in treacherous and dizzying terrain under the initiative and leadership of Acharya Francis who established the Kurisumala Ashramam. About a dozen workers died during the construction at the hanging cliffs and a 20 foot tall memorial tower stands in honour of those who gave their life for this road project at the beginning of the road in Teekoy town junction.
The hill top road.
Vagamon is at the fringe of the Western Ghats and the foot hills on its lower side reach up to Teekoy with a gradual descent. This narrow strip of descending land gives a vital connectivity to the plains as both sides of vagamon up to kuttikkanam on the south west and moolamattom on the north east, are marked by steep and inaccessible hill slopes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bekkal Fort, Kerala- India.



It has been a long cherished wish for me to visit the Bekkal fort Kerala state - India. Last August 12, 2014, i got a chance to visit the area. It is located 350 km from my home town. i reached there around 11:00 AM. It was rainy, so there are only few visitors that day. It helps me capture some good photos with out any peoples head on it.

Coordinates 12.3667°N 75.05°E

Bekal Fort is the largest fort in Kerala, situated at Kasaragod district, North Kerala and it is 67 km from Mangalore spreading over 40 acres (160,000 m2). Some important features of this fort are the water-tank with its flight of steps, the tunnel opening towards the south,
The magazine for keeping ammunition and the broad steps leading to the Observation Tower, which is a rarity. From there one has an ample view of towns in the vicinity like Kanhangad, Pallikkara, Bekal, Kottikkulam, Uduma etc.

The nearest railway stations are Bekal Fort, Kotikulam, Kanhangad,and Kasargod. This observation center had strategic significance in discovering even the smallest movements of the enemy and ensuring the safety of the Fort.
Tourism In 1992 the Government of India declared Bekal Fort as a special tourism area. In the year 1995 the government formed Bekal Tourism Development Corporation for transforming Bekal Fort into international tourism centre.Tourism promotion activities have been taking place of late in the areas surrounding the fort, under the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC). The song 'Uyire' (Tamil) from the movie 'Bombay' directed by Mani Ratnam has been shot at Bekal Fort. Many such films, music albums, commercial advertisements etc., are being shot at Bekal Fort.

History (from wiki)
Shivappa Nayaka of Bednore constructed the Bekal Fort in 1650AD. During the Perumal Age Bekal was a part of Mahodayapuram. The Kodavalam inscription (Pullur, 7 km from Kanhangad) of Bhasakara Ravi II (the King of Mahodayapuram) illustrate the undisputed political sway of Mahodayapuram over this region. Following the political decline of Mahodayapuram Perumals by the 12th century AD, North Kerala including Bekal, came under the sovereignty of Mushika or Kolathiri or Chirakkal Royal Family (who were a secondary royal family at that point to the Cheras, Pandyas and Cholas).[1] The maritime importance of Bekal increased much under the Kolathiris and it became an important port town of Tulunadu and Malabar.

Photo Gallery:










Monday, August 11, 2014

Muzhappilangad Beach. Kerala India

Muzhappilangad Beach. Kerala India
Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach is a beach located in Kerala, in Southwestern India. It is located parallel to National Highway66 (formerly National Highway 17) between Kannur and Thalassery.
One of the entrance on north side of the beach

To get to this place, if you are driving from Tellicherry towards Kannur, take the left turn just before the first railway crossing. You will encounter the road after crossing the Moidu bridge. The beach is about 5 km long and curves in a wide area providing a good view of Kannur on the north. Local laws allow beachgoers to drive for a full 4 km directly on the sands of the beach. The beach is bordered by black rocks, which also protect it from the stronger currents of the ocean.





This beach is the largest Drive-In Beach in Asia .It is very wide and the sand is firm so driving is very smooth unlike other beaches.
The hammer and sickle monument on the beach rocks.
(Behind the rocks) Approximately 100–200 m south of the beach there is a private island called Dharmadam Island (Pacha Thuruthu in Malayalam, which translates to Green Island in English). It is possible to walk to the island during low tide.
Northern view of the beach.




 









Shallow depth water splashes on the shores

Watch my video on the Drive. I fix my HD sports cam on the front grill of my car.. and just drive through ther beach. It was a rainy day, that's why the beach was empty.
                                     video



Since the late 90's, the beach has seen a steady influx of European tourists during winter. even though the beach has attracted many lucky visitors into her,a major share of foreign and domestic tourists are not aware of the potential of this elusive destination.it is a must see destination for Indians as well as foreign tourists.after the face lift of the beach there has been a huge improvement in the facilities available to the beach visitors including resorts roads etc.
 
Entry fee to the beach is 20 Rs.
Happy driving on beach...